PortAventura theme park to open 2014 season with latest aquatic attraction, Angkor

February 19, 2014 12:43 PM | ACN / Lorna McGinn

PortAventura will be launching new attraction ‘Angkor: Adventure in the Lost Kingdom’ this year to coincide with the start of the 2014 season in early April. The new attraction will allow visitors to embark on a 300 meter boat trip through the Asian jungle, designed to simulate the historic Cambodian temple: Angkor Wat. The attraction is located in the China area of the park, near Shambhala, Europe´s highest rollercoaster. The new attraction is a replicate of the temple, which is said to be the largest religious structure in the world. Meanwhile, the park will host Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Kooza’ show during the summer months.

First dive for Catalan submarine ICTINEU 3 built through crowd-funding

December 20, 2013 07:50 PM | ACN / Emma Garzi

ICTINEU 3, a scientific submersible designed and build in Catalonia, has entered the water for the very first time in a test dive near Barcelona. For over ten years, particular donations have helped construct this submarine that will be dedicated to “underwater exploration, scientific research and underwater intervention”. This first test was used to verify that all of the submarine’s systems could function underwater, and the next step will be a dive in seawater. ICTINEU 3 was named after the very first air independent and combustion engine driven submarine, ICTINEU 1, which was invented by Figueres’ engineer Narcís Monturiol and dived for the first time in the Catalan capital’s harbour.

American Oceanographer Sallie Watson is awarded Catalonia’s Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology

October 22, 2013 09:31 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government’s Ramon Margalef Prize was awarded to American oceanographer Sallie Watson for her research on marine biology. The President of the Catalan Executive, Artur Mas, praised the scientist for her discoveries, stating Watson was “the “most productive, charismatic and active searcher in the field of biologic oceanography and marine ecology”. Mas also underlined Catalonia’s growing influence on the international scientific stage, by stating that even though “it was a small country” Catalonia had transformed into an “international scientific centre of high calibre”.

“Unforgettable” FINA World Aquatics Championships end following two weeks of world class competition

August 5, 2013 09:00 PM | Julian Scully

The 15th FINA World Aquatics Championships have come to an end with numerous world records broken and the introduction of new event high diving. The US topped the medal table with a total of 30; China obtained a total of 25 medals while Russia came third with 19 medals. The championships, which were based this year in Barcelona, involved six disciplines: diving, high diving, open water, swimming, synchronised swimming and water polo. Six world records have been broken during the two weeks of events including American Katie Ledecky smashing the women’s 1500m record. The event cost €25 million and was broadcast to 520 million viewers in 160 countries. According to FINA the event was attended by 267,000 spectators, 67,000 more than expected.

The Catalan Government to appeal the Supreme Court to defend the allocation of Barcelona’s water supply to Acciona

July 30, 2013 10:38 PM | ACN

In March of this year the Catalan Supreme Court (TSJC) cancelled the Catalan Government’s allocation of the publicly-owned Aigües Ter-Llobregat (ATLL) – which supplies water to the 5 million people of Greater Barcelona – to the joint venture led by Acciona and including the Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual. The Government presented an appeal but the TSJC confirmed on the 19th July its previous decision. Now, the Catalan Government has decided to take the issue to Spain’s highest court to defend the allocation. The Government is convinced the tender process was done correctly, but the other main contender, Agbar, states the opposite. In addition, a Catalan Government’s internal body overlooking public tenders stated that Acciona’s offer should not have won.

The number of extreme sport companies in the Lleida Pyrenees increases by 20%

March 25, 2013 10:18 PM | CNA / Marta Lluvich

The Pyrenees of Lleida are one of the main areas in Catalonia for adventure sports and the season officially kicks off this week, once the snow sports are about to end their season. Now begins the time for rafting, canyoning, horse-riding excursions, paragliding, mountain bike rides and hiking, which are among the most popular sports. In the last year, the number of companies working within these activities in the Province of Lleida has increased by 20%, reaching more than 200 enterprises. The sector has set the objective of reaching 625,000 services in 2013, similar to that of the last few years. However, they are concerned that the economic crisis and the VAT increase imposed by the Spanish Government might reduce the number of clients.

The Catalan Government privatises Greater Barcelona’s water supply to reduce the public deficit

November 6, 2012 11:33 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government awarded Acciona’s joint venture the contract to manage Aigües Ter Llobregat (ATLL), the public company supplying drinkable water to an area of 5 million people. Acciona, a Brazilian investment bank, and other companies will pay €300 million in 2012 and €700 million within the next 50 years to run the concession. Privatising ATLL was a measure announced months ago, as part of the Catalan Government’s austerity plan to reduce its deficit in order to meet the imposed deficit targets. According to the press release, Acciona’s joint venture has been awarded the 50 year contract because “it offers a better price for the water” than the rival group of companies lead by the Catalan Agbar.

New agreement with tour operator to increase the number of Russian tourists in the Ebro Delta

August 20, 2012 09:20 PM | CNA / Laura Quintana

The Catalan coastal town of Sant Carles de la Ràpita has signed a collaboration agreement with the tour operator Coral Travel. The Russian company is already working in the Alfacs bay, a quiet area perfect for water sports. With this new agreement, the number of Russian tourists is expected to increase by 50% and twenty companies will benefit. The tourists can enjoy a wide range of activities such as boat rentals, fishing or sampling the various traditional dishes of the Ebro Delta, for example seafood paella. Moreover, all of these activities can be combined with cultural activities around the Ebro area, in southern Catalonia.

Barcelona City Council maintains cleaning the seafront water

August 8, 2012 09:39 PM | CNA / David Tuxworth

The team responsible for keeping Barcelona’s beaches clean uses a unique combination of boats and sand vehicles, operating daily during the summer season. This summer, the sea in front of Barcelona is particularly clean, aided by favourable coastal currents and the lack of rain which has helped reduce waste on the coast. The Deputy Mayor of Urban Development, Antoni Vives, has highlighted that “this is a particularly good year for swimming in Barcelona since the water quality is high”.

UN’s body for Water Management (GWOPA) will be based in Barcelona

July 3, 2012 12:04 AM | CNA

Depending on UN-Habitat, the Global Water Operators' Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) has established the Catalan capital as the permanent base for its headquarters. GWOPA will set up its offices in one of the historical Art-Nouveau pavilions of the old Sant Pau Hospital, in Barcelona. These pavilions will host other international organisations, such as one institute of the United Nations University. “It is not the first and neither will it be the last organisation to choose” Sant Pau’s historical site to base its headquarters, stated the Catalan Minister for Sustainability, Lluís Recoder.

CiU and the PP reach a final agreement to approve the Catalan Budget

February 14, 2012 11:49 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), which controls the Catalan Government, and the People’s Party (PP), the third political party in Catalonia’s Parliament, have agreed to reduce some of the fees from the original proposal, reduce the number of public companies, build new schools and community health centres, and allocate more money to municipalities and victims of terrorism. Furthermore, the agreement goes beyond the budget and foresees the development of laws and plans to foster employment, entrepreneurship and a spending limitation. CiU has denied that it has a “stable agreement” with the PP for the entire term. The PP has demonstrated its new central role in Catalan politics. Every opposition party has criticised the agreement.